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‘Sharing is Caring’ as MittiCool & Indian Entrepreneurs Help Drought Stricken Zimbabwe

Forget that fancy name ‘smart city’. A country must have clean water and MittiCool of Gujarat is helping a water scarce Zimbabwe do just that.

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'MittiCool' founder, Mansukhlal Prajapati

Before the stories of how Indian entrepreneurs are helping Zimbabwe are shared it is essential to know why countries like Zimbabwe need help from other countries. So wait for a slow build up as the main story is prefaced by an introduction to the issue.

Forget that fancy name ‘smart city’. A country or community must have uninterrupted electricity 24 hours a day, clean water, and enough knowledge of agricultural patterns to grow crops throughout the year. Securing these resources are essential for sustainable living.

It’s when a community does not have these resources secured that rural-urban migration occurs triggering over population and a high pressure rat race to grab resources now stressed beyond capacity.

Rural-migration is a global issue, but there are some countries predisposed to bearing the brunt in the worst way. "Countries like Zimbabwe find it difficult to find solutions to its national problems because of a lack of resources throughout the entire country,” said Nehaal Mayur, a United Nations resource specialist to Zimbabwe.

Nehaal's main job as a UN appointed resource specialist is to negotiate with NGOs, development agencies like the European Union and UK Aid and other government agencies for technological solutions on behalf of the country he is assigned to (in this case Zimbabwe). For instance when there was a drought in Zimbabwe in 2016, Nehaal was the UN negotiator who discussed terms, conditions and permits required to get patented technology which collected early morning dew to make cleaning drinking water at a time when 4.1 million Zimbabweans were distressed by the severe water scarcity.

From his experience working with under developed nations, Nehaal feels that while all countries need to secure sustainable forms of living, not all countries will have the means to do so on their own.

“Last year in India, 7 states and 33 districts were declared as under drought. But it wasn’t a fatal crisis since there were parts of the country with enough resources who could come to the aid of these drought stricken states. We have enough funding and technological advancements to help ourselves,” he said.

Not so in Zimbabwe. The country of 16 million people is landlocked - surrounded by land on all sides, it will have weather patterns unfavourable for agriculture. Added to that the government infrastructure for water and electricity leaves much to be desired. According to Unicef, there are some parts of Harare, capital city of Zimbabwe, that haven't had water supplies for up to five years.

Thus the concept of sharing technology and expertise, across organizations, across countries, becomes important.

Nehaal added, “Business and industries shouldn't just be about making money but also about contributing to social development by sharing knowledge, ideas and technology.”

And that’s exactly what Indian businesses are doing. They are sharing their technology with countries like Zimbabwe. On 15 June this year, Nehaal will be introducing in Zimbabwe the ‘MittiCool’ refrigerator - patented technology from a Gujarat business, Mitticool Clay Innovations founded by Mansukhbhai Prajapati, a traditional clay craftsmen.

In addition to the refrigerator, Mitticool Clay Innovations and a Chennai based business will be introducing in Zimbabwe more traditional Indian technology to purify water by filtering out mud. Nehaal says he met this other media shy businessman from Chennai during rehabilitation efforts following the great Chennai floods. “The best part is this businessman agreed to help for free of charge,” Nehaal said. If one SME businessman could change the water destinies of an entire nation, imagine what could be possible if billion dollar global corporations decided to join the race to give.

There’s more. The Samarpan Foundation of Delhi has helped Nehaal and a team of humanitarian aides rebuild schools in Nepal post the harrowing earthquake. “Samarpan came up with a technology that uses plastic bottles and fishnets to construct walls of a building. They have made access to this technology free and available to everyone. The Foundation helped us rebuild some of the schools in Nepal, and these walls are proven to be able to absorb the shock of an earthquake even as great as 9.3 on the Richter scale," Nehaal said. And the icing on the cake? These champions of the underprivileged purchased the plastic bottles and fishnets from Rohingya refugees living in Delhi NCR and West Bengal (respectively in that order).

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